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NATO says it is “United for a New Era” but is trying to resurrect 20th century policies

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 10, 2020

On December 3, Carnegie Europe hosted the public launch of the NATO 2030 Expert Group’s Report: “United for a New Era”. The report comes as U.S. President Donald Trump has many issues with NATO members for not committing to their military budget, Turkey continues its near daily military threats against fellow NATO member Greece, and French President Emmanuel Macron famously highlighted that NATO suffers from a “brain death.” NATO is struggling to find a reason for its existence since the collapse of European communism in 1991, but the report’s authors are confident that their suggestions can adapt NATO “for a New Era”.

What becomes evident from the report is that this “New Era” is not based on multipolarity. Rather it is an attempt to resurrect the U.S.-led unipolar world, suggesting that NATO actually has no strategy for the “New Era” of multipolarity.

But for NATO to justify its existence in the 21st century, they require a political consolidation of members who are divided. It appears that the authors hope that anti-Russian and anti-Chinese positions can unite NATO again towards a common goal.

“NATO must adapt to meet the needs of a more demanding strategic environment marked by the return of systemic rivalry, [and a] persistently aggressive Russia”, the authors said in their “Main Findings: Moving Toward NATO 2030”.

However, the old Russian enemy is also no longer a strong enough reason to justify the existence of NATO, which is why there is also a particular emphasis on China in the report.

“NATO must devote much more time, political resources, and action to the security challenges posed by China,” the report said, adding that NATO must “develop a political strategy for approaching a world in which China will be of growing importance through to 2030. The Alliance should infuse the China challenge throughout existing structures and consider establishing a consultative body to discuss all aspects of Allies’ security interests vis-à-vis China.”

The 67-page report however is mostly just theory, analytical considerations and suggestions. In practice, NATO is dominated by absolute indecision. Some so-called experts are not content with only Russia being the main focus of NATO in the 21st century and consider China a major enemy of the alliance. This is problematic as many NATO members, including countries like Greece that are traditionally subservient to the Alliance, are unwilling to jeopardize trade relations with China and are beginning to improve their ties with Moscow again.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg noted that important decisions will be taken in February during a meeting of defense ministers. This meeting will occur just weeks after we discover whether it will be Donald Trump or Joe Biden sitting in the White House on January 20.

A NATO emphasis against China or Russia will depend on whether it will be a Trump or Biden administration next year. For Trump, China is Washington’s main adversary. Biden certainly emphasizes China’s supposed threat, but in reality, the trade war will likely cool down as there are influential interest groups in both countries wanting to engage in business rather than a geopolitical struggle. However, a Biden presidency will certainly push NATO to become tougher against Moscow and encourage destabilization on Russia’s frontiers.

In support of destabilizing Russia’s borders and undermining its interests, the report urges NATO to “expand and strengthen partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia, seek to heighten engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

As the report states, NATO should “counter destabilization across the Western Balkans”. This is despite the fact that it was the Alliance that violently dissolved Yugoslavia in the 1990’s by supporting separatist forces in Kosovo, as well as jihadists from the Arab World and Chechnya to help break Bosnia off from Yugoslavia.

The fact that Russia is the main threat to Biden is very suitable for some NATO members and their allies like Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and Lithuania. If necessary, these countries could also turn against China if demanded so by NATO or Biden. These states will be more than satisfied as anti-Russian policies in today’s NATO is fanatically supported by Anglosphere and former Warsaw Pact countries.

Reading the new NATO report, which attempts to set a decade-long strategy for the Alliance, actually reveals the desperation to find relevance in the 21st century. Biden may say “America is back”, but that does not mean it will be able to return. Washington’s peak power occurred when the world became unipolar after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, this short period has already passed and NATO is more obsolete than ever.

NATO, but especially the likes of the Anglosphere and former Warsaw pact states, tries to cling onto an inefficient past. It is for this reason that other NATO members are beginning to look outside of the Alliance to ensure their security without the cost of opposing Russia and China. An example of this is the emerging alliance between France, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The 21st Century is incomparable to the previous century as new regional and global security threats have emerged under different geopolitical contexts. Insisting that Russia and China are the main adversaries to Anglo-American dominance, prevents NATO states from facing the reality that the 21st century is an era of multipolarity, thus limiting their own global influence as states are choosing to engage in new relations and alliances disconnected from demands made by third parties. NATO believes it can unite all member states “for a New Era” by opposing Moscow and Beijing, but this will only end in major disappointment and failure for the alliance as member states are becoming unwilling to adopt anti-Russian and anti-Chinese policies.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst. 

December 10, 2020 - Posted by | Militarism | , , ,

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